Pa. requiring out-of-staters have negative COVID-19 test or quarantine before visiting state park

Pa. requiring out-of-staters have negative COVID-19 test or quarantine before visiting state park
(WPXI)

Pennsylvania — Effective today, Pennsylvania will require out-of-state visitors to provide a negative Covid-19 test or quarantine for 14 days before visiting state parks or forest facilities.

“Since the beginning of efforts to address the pandemic we have kept our state park and forest lands open to all so that people can safely enjoy outdoor recreation as a way to maintain positive physical and mental health, and that will continue to be the case,” said Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “We are making some changes to our overnight stays for out-of-state-visitors and our programming to help decrease the spread of COVID-19.”

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For the safety of visitors and staff, the state will require guests to cancel and refunds will be issued if they are unable to honor mitigation efforts:

  • Anyone who visits from another state must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 prior to entering the commonwealth;
  • If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania before visiting a state park or forest; and
  • Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth or to quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Visitors who don’t comply may be fined between $25 and $300.

Visitor center exhibit halls and interpretive areas will be closed, and all indoor programs will be canceled. Restrooms will continue to be available.

In addition, all outdoor environmental education and recreation programs will be limited to 20 people, to include staff and volunteer leaders. These changes will remain in effect until at least January 15, 2021.

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Dunn noted that visits to Pennsylvania state parks have increased by more than a million visitors a month since the start of mitigation efforts, and that interest is expected to hold strong through the winter and spring.

“We encourage people to embrace being active outdoors, even in the winter, because there are so many benefits associated with enjoying nature,” Dunn said. “With the appropriate clothing and preparedness, winter is among the most beautiful and peaceful times in our parks and forests.”

Information about state parks and forests is available on the DCNR website. Updates also are being provided on DCNR’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.